Why does the infrastructure cost so much

Costs of global warming - climate change will put massive stress on infrastructure

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New study: The warmer weather in Switzerland is causing additional annual damage worth billions in the medium term.

Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said today at the ETH Infrastructure Conference in Zurich that the infrastructures are essentially Switzerland's lifelines. If climate change strains or even damages these infrastructures, everyone would feel it: ¬ęDebris flows, buried roads, but also a power supply that no longer works. All of this is associated with great damage for the population, but also for the economy. "

The economist Christian Jaag has calculated how great this damage could be in the future on behalf of the federal government on the basis of existing studies and reports. It comes with annual costs of up to one billion Swiss francs, which climate change could cause in infrastructure and the energy industry around 2050.

Damage to roads and rails

For example, the transport infrastructure is at risk, says Jaag. In the medium term, he puts the effects of creeping climate change with higher temperatures and heavier precipitation, which degrade roads and rails, at several hundred million Swiss francs per year.

SBB is already spending a good 15 million francs every year to protect the Swiss rail network from natural hazards. These efforts are being intensified because of climate change, says Marc Hauser, Head of Natural Risks at SBB. A lot of research is currently being carried out with the ETH in order to be able to carry out future infrastructure planning with the necessary know-how.

Damage in the energy sector

The energy infrastructure is also suffering from climate change. This became evident once more in the dry summer when the Beznau nuclear power plant had to reduce its output due to a lack of sufficient cooling water.

Jaag's study generally assumes significantly drier summers over the next few decades. This will also have a negative effect on the electricity production of the hydropower plants. At the same time, the demand for electricity is likely to increase in summer because offices and apartments would be cooled more. That is also a cost factor.

Warmer winters as an advantage

In winter, however, Jaag also sees certain positive consequences of global warming: As the most important aspect, besides less road damage caused by the cold, he names room heating, for which a third of all energy is still used today. "That will decrease significantly with climate change."

New federal action plan

In the long run, however, the negative consequences of climate change will clearly outweigh. That is why Switzerland must react now, said Federal Councilor Sommaruga. She wants to submit an action plan for adapting to climate change to the Federal Council next year.

Specifically, it should be clarified where more research is needed. The cantons and communes should also discuss the measures that are needed to prevent major damage.

Reduction of CO2 emissions

According to Sommaruga, for example, the risks of climate change should already be included in spatial planning. The core of Swiss climate policy remains the reduction of CO2 emissions. In their opinion, this is the cheapest measure to effectively protect Swiss infrastructures from the consequences of global warming.

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  • Comment from Sam Brenner (Sam Brenner)
    Since when have right-wing alternative factors been interested in studies on climate, weather and the environment, or in science in general? The unanimous tenor from this area: Man has done nothing and cannot do anything, why change something. You're lucky too, another 1 or 2 decades and you're out of the game if the next one should grapple with it. Better not do anything, block everything and hoard the old benefices.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Fabian Sarbach (F. Sarbach)
    Before the elections, scare tactics about the climate again, but the framework agreement is hushed up. I wonder why?
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from N. Schmid (Schmid)
    The electrification of the Swiss economy to reduce CO2 would also reduce the enormous flow of money to the oil sheikhs and ensure that more money stays in our homeland, and that's a good thing.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Reto Camenisch (Horatio)
      N.Schmid. Absolute, exclusive electrification is not possible for practical and other reasons. Up to now the electricity has made up approx. 25% of the total energy. Then, with the new technologies (5G with Internet of Things, cybermoney, autonomous cars, etc.) power consumption will grow even more without really shaking up the overall energy.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers

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